Couponing For Beginners

coupon note

If you’re anything like me, when I was first exposed to the world of budget saving couponing, I was so overwhelmed that I didn’t know where to begin. I started once, thought it was too difficult and quit. I didn’t think you could truly save the money people said they could, and it definitely didn’t seem to be worth my time. However, I have now discovered that it does work and I can save more money than people said you could save.

Some basic couponing principles to follow are:

1. Use coupons when items are on sale
2. stock up on items that you frequently use
3. Be willing to go to more than one store for your purchases

Often I buy the smallest rice, diaper package possible because I am more likely to get that item free. Most stores allow you to stack coupons. That means that you can use a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon on an item that is on sale and often get that item for pennies or even better for free.

When I first began couponing, I learned how to coupon at one store at a time. This was so much easier than trying to learn how to coupon at all of the stores at the same time. Some stores can be confusing at first, but I have posted the basics for each of the stores that I have learned to coupon at. Coupons really can help you save much money and live within your budget.

I am here to help you in that process! Sign up for my daily newsletter so that you will know about the latest coupons, freebies and deals. Feel free to ask me questions. I love helping people that are learning how to coupon!!

To help those of you who are new with this, I’ve come up with a Weekly Plan to ease you into couponing and explain some things along the way. I hope you enjoy and start saving money.

Week 1 – Getting Organized
* Buy a Sunday paper. Cut out ALL of the coupons. This may seem overwhelming, and you may think – why do I need all of these? Start by clipping all of them because you’ll be surprised at the coupons you can use and then get paid for buying an item that you had already gotten for free. Since you don’t know which ones of these there are yet, clip all of them.
* Start printing coupons. These are the best sites to find printable coupons:

1. Coupons.com
2. Red Plum
3. SmartSource
4. Coupon Network
5. Free Coupon Alerts
6. Target coupons

* Buy a 3 ring binder, baseball card holders, and dividers. Click here and here to see how to organize this notebook.
* Unless you’re Superman or Wonder Woman – don’t try and shop this week.

Week 2 – Get Started (Rite Aid and 1 Grocery Store)
* Buy a Sunday paper. Cut out ALL of the coupons. For reasons why see week 1.
* Print all coupons from bar in the left column. (You can click “See all Coupons,” then select to print all.) Check back at Smartsource.com and redplum.com to see if there are any new coupons to print.
* Using Budget Saving Mom’s deal finders (the drugstores should be published Sunday/Monday, and the grocery store deals will come out Monday/Wednesday/Thursday), pick a drug store and one grocery store to go to. I would suggest starting with Rite Aid because they are the easiest to follow. To see Rite Aid’s policy click here. For a list of all store policies and budget saving tips, click here. REMEMBER YOU HAVEN’T STOCKPILED VERY MANY COUPONS YET, SO YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO GET ALL THE DEALS THAT ARE LISTED. BE PATIENT, WITHIN 3-4 MONTHS, YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO GET THE ENTIRE LIST OF DEALS.
* BEFORE going to the stores, get two envelopes and label them with the names of the stores. Print the deals from Budget Saving Mom’s site that you plan on buying. Pull the coupons that correspond to the deals that you will be getting and put them in the envelope. You can still bring in your notebook and search for additional deals after you have gotten the items from your list in your cart (or stroller if you are like me.)
* Since you’re new at this and until you have a good idea of how much you should pay, limit yourself to buying only items that are free, less than a dollar after coupons, and things that you are pretty sure you will use. Remember, when you’re buying an item that you can get multiple sizes of, get the smallest size you can to maximize the amount of money you will save. (For example if you have a $1 off coupon for a body wash, buy the 4 oz. one that costs $1.25 as opposed to the $3.50 8 oz. one).

Week 3 – Rite Aid and another grocery store
* Buy a Sunday paper. Cut out ALL of the coupons.
* Print all the printable coupons on the sidebars.
* Go to your drug store from last week. And using Budget Saving Mom’s deals that are listed, pick the best money saving grocery store for this week to go to.
* Do the same as last week. Print your list, highlight which items you’re getting, and put your coupons in an envelope and bring your list. Also, bring along your notebook for any extra time you may have to find other deals.

Week 4 – CVS and a grocery store
* Buy a Sunday paper. Cut out ALL of the coupons.
* Print all the printable coupons on the sidebars.
* Try out CVS. When you get into the store, don’t forget to get a CVS card BEFORE you make your purchases. To see how CVS works, click here. Limit yourself to only purchasing those things that you can get Extra Care Bucks back and that will then turn out to be free or moneymakers.
* Also, pick the grocery store with the best deals for this week, print your list, pull your coupons and envelopes and hit the road. Print your list, highlight which items you’re getting, and put your coupons in an envelope. Also, bring along your notebook for any extra time you may have to find other deals.

Week 5CVS again with extra care bucks and a grocery store
* Buy a Sunday paper. Cut out ALL of the coupons.
* Print all the printable coupons on the sidebars.
* Do CVS again, this time you can spend some of those Extra Care Bucks, but make sure that you are also purchasing something that will replenish your Extra Care Bucks stash.
* Pick your grocery store to shop at. Print your list, highlight which items you’re getting, and put your coupons in an envelope and bring these items with you. Also, bring along your notebook for any extra time you may have to find other deals.

Week 6 – Walgreens
* Buy a Sunday paper. Cut out ALL of the coupons.
* Print all the printable coupons on the sidebars.
* If you’re feeling bold, you can try out Walgreens. Click here for instructions on how to save at Walgreens.
* Pick your grocery store. Print your list, highlight which items you’re getting, and put your coupons in an envelope and bring these items with you. Also, bring along your notebook for any extra time you may have to find other deals.

So, there you go – you’re 6 weeks into this, your stash of coupons should be building, and you should be saving money!

For additional information:

1. Stocking Up (buying more than you need right now to save later)- a new way of shopping.
2. Balancing Coupons with Life: part 1, part 2, part 3
3. A Newbie Success Story
4. Store Policies
5. Additional ways to get coupons
6.Budget Saving Tips when shopping
7. Budget Saving Freebie Tips

Remember to sign up for my FREE daily newsletter, so that you can get the deals delivered to your mailbox each day!

I hope that this helps you save money on your budget, leave a comment or e-mail if you have any questions.

Here are some additional great reads for beginning couponers:

How To Coupon from How To Have It All

How To Start Using Coupons from Luv A Bargain

Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Great post! I am on week 1. I love how this is all laid out for me. Thanks!! Anne

  2. Rene says:

    Thanks Anne! I'm glad it was helpful!

  3. leandra7777 says:

    Ditto!

  4. Im on step one or two for newbies, gathering coupons like a madwoman. I’ve heard the term “stacking”. Does that mean you can use more than one coupon per item? Which leads to my next question, once I print all the coupons from here on your site, I thought I heard or read, to print them more than once? Is this correct? Thanks -I know you’re busy!
    Jenifer

    • Hi Jenifer,
      Stacking coupons means that you are able to use a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon on the same item. For instance if you have a pack of band aids that costs $3, and you have a $1 store coupon and a $1.50 manufacturer coupon, you are able to use both. This would reduce your price to $.50 – - – You are able to print coupons 2 times per computer in general. Just hit the back button on your screen and usually it will print again. With the coupons.com bar on the side of my site you are able to click and print until the screen shows print limit reached. Also, those coupons will reset sometimes and allow you to print them again at a later time. Hope that helps!! Let me know if you have any other questions. Rene

  5. Lisa says:

    Rene,

    I have been using coupons for a long time but never at this level. I would like to take my savings to a new level but I am not the most organized person with coupons. Do you have tips on getting my notebook started and how to organize it? I never seem to have my coupons in the right place to find fast and easy. I hope I have not overlooked this info on your site somewhere.
    I live in lexington and watching your site in hopes that you will soon have another evening class near by.

    Thank you for all your help.
    Lisa

  6. Danielle says:

    I am having trouble with the coupon printer. I have printed off coupons before but now for some reason it won’t work and says I need to install the coupon printer. Well, I tried reinstalling it even though it was still on my computer and it still didn’t work. HELP! I need my coupons!!!

  7. Kelly says:

    Okay so I’m starting at step one before I just get in over my head. Where is the “select all” for printing all of the internet coupons available?

  8. Coletta says:
  9. Luella says:
  10. Susie says:

    For those of you in the Thomasville, NC area, the Mighty Dollar has the baseball card holders back in stock. you can get a pack of 10 sheets for $1!!! This is an awesome deal. They sell out fast and never know when they will have them in stock again, so if you are making a new book or you just need to add pages, get there quick! They are in the paper/school supply section.

  11. Shelly says:

    Thank you so much for your website! I understand the majority of how to do this! I’m so excited to start working on saving money every month!
    Question- What does it mean when I see this in one or your store adds.. This is from the Rite-Aid section. I know the +UP is the rewards program, but what does this mean?

    $0.50/1 Select Aussie or Herbal Essences, exp. 12-31 (RP 11/14/10 #2)
    $1/2 Herbal Essence or Aussie Product, exp. 11-30-10 (P&G 10/10/10)

    Thanks,
    Shelly

    • Those are options of different coupons that you can use. The first one is a 50 cent coupon that is found in the second Red Plum insert from 11/14/10′s Sunday paper. The second coupon is a $1 off 2 coupon from the Proctor and Gamble insert in the 10/10/10 Sunday paper. Thanks so much for reading! Let me know if you have any other questions. (-: Rene

  12. Lauren says:

    Just wanted to let u know that I’m very eager to begin couponing! I have just begun and am super excited to be saving my family money!!

  13. Hi, i just thought i’d submit and let you know your blogs layout is truly messed up around the K-Melonbrowser. Anyhow keep up the great function.

  14. Catherine McClure says:

    Hi, i like to know what websites can i go to, to find in stores coupons.

  15. tracie says:

    do i have to have a coupon for every item that i buy or can i use one coupon for all the same item

  16. tracie says:

    what if it says say 1.00 on any one shampoo…..say i want to buy 3 do i need 3 coupons

  17. paige says:

    if the store has a sale thats buy one get one free can i use 2 coupons or just one

    • It depends on the coupon. If you have a B1G1 coupon and a B1G1 sale, you can use 1 coupon and get both items free at most stores. If your coupon is for 1 item, then you can use 2 coupons at most stores because you are buying 2 items even if one of them is free. Some stores actually just charge the item at half price anyway, so there you are paying for both items just half price. Hope that helps! Rene

  18. tracie says:

    i cant find the baseball card holders do u know where i can order so cheap?????

  19. anna says:

    I’m ready to give up on couponing. I live in Bozrah, CT. I’m going to need air fare to shop at stores with good coupons.

  20. tracie says:

    hobby lobby,,,wal-mart,,,,k-mart,,,,,big lots,,,,dollars store,,,,,deals,,,,,,dollars tree,,,
    i have looked at them all even ebay and none of them have them and ebay is high……

  21. paige says:

    sorry to keep bothing u but i have a question again……if i have a coupon for pizza thats buy 5 save 1.00 can i use 5 coupons and get them for if the pizzas are 1.00 each

  22. paige says:

    sorry to keep bothing u but i have a question again……if i have a coupon for pizza thats buy 5 save 1.00 can i use 5 coupons and get them for free ….. if the pizzas are 1.00 each

  23. Sherri says:

    How do you print coupons from coupon.com? I have tried for two weeks now. I have installed the printer several times and still cannot print.

    • Are you using Firefox or IE? Those are the only 2 browsers that will support it. If you are, I would clear my browser catche and then restart my computer and try again. Just note that clearing your cache will get rid of any of the sites you might go to that saves your password and login id and logs in for you. Hope that helps! Rene

  24. Newbie Ron says:

    I am wondering about all of the coupons which state “SAVE $ .75 WHEN YOU BUY ANY 3 XYZ PRODUCTS” it seems the majority that I find have something similar. This makes it difficult to really get great deals. What do I not understand?

    Newbie

    • It is true that not all coupons will enable you to snag a great deal. You need a high value coupon that you pair with a sale. You can check the store deal coupon matchups on my site under store deals for the best deals. Basically, you have to buy the items that are on sale and then pair them with a great coupon to snag a really good deal. So, you kind of change the way that you think about shopping, and buy items that you know you will need over the next couple of months, and stock up when there are sales, so that eventually you try to buy items that are free or only cost a few cents. This takes time, but it is doable over several months as your coupon supply and stockpile builds. Hope that helps! Rene

  25. Patricia says:

    Thank God I found your site!! It is by far the best site I have found. Thank you, thank you, thank you for taking the time to explain everything so well. You are truly amazing and such a blessing!!

  26. Anita says:

    This is by far the most helpful post I have found about how to start couponing. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

  27. Allison says:

    You have answered a ton of my questions today. I really appreciate you taking the time to help! I will spend some more time browsing around. I appreciate your help so much!

  28. Donald Goodin says:

    I see all these shows and I know they are organized, clip lots, and a lot of other things they don’t have time to share with us. I’m 49, disabled, earning $763 p/month & I have my 68 yr. old mom here to. I really don’t mind doing the work but is there a “cheat sheet” or checklist so I can be more effient? I need this to work. I eat at food banks & I’d like to give them food for once! Can you help me, please?

    • There are store matchups that you can use on websites like mine. Here we find the deals and then match them with coupons. That saves a lot of time when you are looking for deals. Hope that helps! Rene

  29. diana acevedo says:

    geats deals.

  30. beth says:

    Best explanation I’ve seen

  31. blairecat says:

    brand new to this site very excited. i use cvs,riteaid,food lion, martins. so if there are more couponers out there that uses the same stores,lets inform each other of any good deals we came across~:)smiles,blairecat

    • Welcome to the site~ I am so glad that you are here! If you ever have any questions, feel free to ask around. I do cover Food Lion, CVS and Rite Aid deals each week. You can find those coupon matchups under the store tab & their name. Thanks so much for visiting, blairecat!

  32. Tabitha says:

    im new at this and i really want this to work but i cant print coupons yet is there anyway i can get coupons via postal mail? please help me!!

    • Rene says:

      There are coupons that you can get via your Sunday paper. Occasionally there will be coupons that you can request to be mailed, but in general printable coupons can only be printed. There are also coupons that can be downloaded to your store card or via Cellfire. Hope that helps!

  33. Lchrisco says:

    I have a question- when u print a coupon out and it says manufacturers coupon, can u use that and stack it with a manufactures coupon from the newspaper? Thanks

    • Rene says:

      No, you can only use one manufacturer coupon per item. You can stack manufacturer coupons with store coupons, but not with other manufacturer coupons.

  34. tami says:

    What am I doing wrong…. I want to find coupons for specific items. Example: nabisco, pilsbury, general mills, etc, it will take to my requested page with the company I want, but there are know coupons or it they show what you could get, but it makes me want to keep signing up, but then nothing every happens….help??

  35. Summer says:

    I don’t know if I put my earlier question in the right area, so here goes. I am new to the couponing and don’t understand how you can get FREE SKITTLES at Walgreens with a Target manufactured coupon? Did I read that correct? Also, what does it mean when the coupon says or doesn’t say “DO NOT DOUBLE”? If it is a store coupon, does that mean I can’t use a manufactured coupon with it? Please HELP!

    • Rene says:

      The Target coupon says manufacturer coupon on it, not store coupon, so you can use it anywhere. Do not double means that the coupon can only be accepted at face value. Many stores will double or triple a coupons value, but if it says do not double, it should not be doubled. That just means that a 50¢ coupon will only be worth 50¢ not $1 or $1.50. You can use store and manufacturer coupons together at most stores. This is just called stacking coupons. You can not use 2 manufacturer coupons or 2 store coupons together on the same item, but you can use 1 store coupon and 1 manufacturer coupon on the same item. Hope that helps! Rene

  36. Cynthia says:

    Love the info! Thanks so much! I’m getting my coupon notebook established and helping my daughter get hers together via emails and texts as she lives in a different state than I do. Unfortunately, I’m unable to access on your site any info below the header as the banner covers it. I don’t see another way to access the info. Suggestions? Thanks!

    • Rene says:

      I was having trouble with my header earlier today. I think that the problem is fixed now. I can see it on my browsers. Let me know if it is still a problem though, and I will try to correct the problem or send you the links. Thanks so much for reading!! Rene

  37. Cynthia says:

    Sorry to say am still running into the same issue. Anything that has a drop list just disappears behind the banner. :-( Am loving the info here tho! I’ve been using coupons for “YEARS” and am slowly but surely dragging my daughter into it also. I’m moving up to the notebook concept this weekend. A little awkward, but, I’ll get use to it and being able to see all the coupons right away rather than digging for China knowing I just saw that coupon! LOL! Have to admit that if it weren’t for Extreme Couponing, I’d never found your site or a better way to coupon. Keep up the fab work!

  38. Breanne says:

    While reading the Walmart policy for couponing, I seen there was something about them not accepting doubling and tripling coupons… What does that mean? i am new at this and would really like to get into it!! thank you for your time :)

    • Rene says:

      Breanne,

      You are right. Walmart does not double or triple coupons. This just means that the coupon will be accepted at face value rather than 2 or 3 times the face value amount. Enjoy getting started with couponing! Rene

  39. Rebecca Sellers says:

    Rene I seen you a email yesterday you must of not got it. It was about your new book that I paid for by paypal to have download but so far I have not seen it show up anywhere and it has already came out of my paypal account. Were do I find the download? Thanks

    • Rene says:

      I did get your comment yesterday, and I sent you a copy of the book to your e-mail account. I e-mailed you again today from the same account (budgetsavingmom at gmail dot com). Take a look in your spam mail, because I wonder if it is getting sent there. I also sent you an e-mail from another one of my e-mail accounts today. Just reply back, and I will send you another copy. Thanks so much! Rene

      Also, are you using a different e-mail account than the one that you are leaving comments with & paid with because that is the e-mail account that I have sent the 3 e-mails to?

  40. gwen says:

    could you please explain how to explain to others about using a coupon on a product and then use a bogo coupon. I say if the coupon says an amount on one coupon; then you can use a bogo coupon and get two items, but if it says an amount off two then you cannot use the bogo because you are already using a coupon on both items.

  41. Knieboer says:

    I am just starting to use coupons. One thing I just need clarified is how many coupons I can use on one product. As I look through the websites you listed, I see many coupons for the same items. Can I really use all these coupons for 1 item? Thanks!!

    • Rene says:

      You can use one manufacturer coupon per item. The list of coupons are all of the ones that are available per item since not everyone will have all of the coupons, but you can only use one per item. The exception to this is if you also have a store coupon. Most stores will allow you to use both a manufacturer coupon and store coupon together.

  42. Sally says:

    So printed coupons will still scan? You don’t have to do anything special or use a special paper?

  43. wirlwind says:

    Hi Rene, so i want to start couponing, but I’ve never done this in my life. i don’t kno anybody else that does it. i live a small area, we do have safeway, albertsons, and smiths, and the only drug store we have is walgreens. i did start with the sunday paper, but i still don’t understand how to get them together and how to read them. could you help me. Thank You (^_^)

  44. Jill says:

    I am just starting to coupon and don’t understand why I need to cut all the coupons. I should really clip coupons for things I would never use?

  45. Mommy D says:

    It’s actually a nice and helpful piece of information. I’m happy that you shared this useful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

  46. RGV Realty says:

    superb post! Keep up the awesome work!

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  50. sikiş izle says:

    Hello admin very good article considerably thanks liked this blog truly considerably

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